The overall goal of this NEI Core Center Grant for Vision Research is to enhance the capabilities of vision research scientists by facilitating easy access to equipment, training and technical support which will expand experimental capabilities, result in more cost-effective and time-efficient research, and open up new research directions. This Center will serve vision science researchers across the UT Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) campus. It will also facilitate new research collaborations and utilization of the core facilities by vision scientists at other nearby institutions. Our proposed NEI Core Center consists of three Resource/Service Modules, each directed by a faculty member with experience and expertise in their unit?s focus area: 1) Cell Culture and Cell Phenotyping (Directed by Dr. Danielle Robertson), which will support the maintenance and authentication of cell lines that are required for rigorous study across a wide range of research activities, and provide equipment and support for quantitative cellular analysis applications; 2) Molecular Biology/Virus Production (Directed by Dr. John Hulleman), which will provide full service DNA production and validation as well as lentivirus and adenovirus production and purification; and, 3) Microscopy and Digital Imaging (Directed by Dr. Matthew Petroll), which will provide equipment, infra-structural support, supplies and technical assistance for quantitative imaging of cells and tissues. In addition, the Center includes a biostatistician who will work with Investigators on the design of their research studies, rigorous analysis of their data, and interpretation of their results.
The Specific Aims of the Core Center are to enhance, streamline and add scientific rigor to the research activities of the participating vision scientists by: 1) Supporting the operation of the Resource/Service Modules by managing usage and operations, and providing for skilled technical assistance, equipment maintenance, and the purchase of supplies; 2) providing biostatistical services to Core investigators for the design and analysis of their research studies; 3) expanding the number of collaborative research projects between investigators both within UTSW and between UTSW and other neighboring institutions; 4) creating a more fertile environment for the development of vision research programs of junior faculty members, and for new vision researchers recruited into the University; and, 5) providing resources and training to assist graduate students, medical students, and post-doctoral fellows with their research. Overall, we anticipate that the Core Grant for Vision Research will impact the research programs of these researchers by allowing them to: 1) expand into new research areas through the addition of novel experimental techniques; 2) develop new collaborations with other Core Center users throughout the region; 3) improve their productivity and efficiency through the use of Core services; and, 4) optimize their experimental design and analysis to maintain a high level of rigor and reproducibility.
This NEI Core Center Grant for vision research will enhance the capabilities of vision research scientists at the UT Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) and neighboring institutions in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area by providing technical support, facilities and services that can be shared by investigators. The Core Center will expand experimental capabilities, and result in more cost-effective and rigorous research. The Center will also stimulate new collaborations between vision scientists at UTSW and throughout the region, and create a fertile environment for the development of junior faculty members and new vision researchers recruited into the University.